Jamestown is a section of Accra, Ghana that is home to the fishing community and market. The fort at Jamestown was built in the 18th century and the area has served as the port for the Fisherman in the countries capital. When you venture down from the lighthouse you uncover a community that has been fishing in the exact same way for decades, yet around them a modern city has creeped in. Recently the fisherman have been given a notice to vacate the area and relocate so the city can build a new port or mall along the water. In three months time this community will be gone, so we thought this film might be a great way to document pieces of their way of life before it’s displaced.
My fascination with the fisherman started ten years ago while I was teaching in a rural school in Ghana’s Volta Region. During my days off I would venture out to sea with the fisherman and in the afternoon after classes I would join the rest of the town in pulling-in the net. We would spread the fish along the sand and divide them up for people to eat that evening. While living in Keta I was interested in finding a creative way to tell these fisherman’s story. I was also intrigued with how much longer these communities can maintain their traditional practices while the modern world floods in around them.
Working closely with Producer Kofi Afriyie and the entire Ghanian creative team helped me to tell an authentic story that captures a time of transition in Ghana. Together we are humbled to have captured a little story of a fisherman who wakes up one day to a world passing him by.
“Jamestown is electric. It’s the city’s oldest district. Yes, there is poverty, the homes are corrugated shacks for the most part, but there’s a constant vibrancy. In Jamestown you’ll see a harbor with an expanse of Atlantic, dotted with traditional fishing boats called pirogues. When the catch comes in there is amazing fresh fish everywhere: squid, barracuda, mackerel, flounder, and bass among them. You’ll see people barter and buy those fish and take them straight to smokers – there’s one at the side of virtually every house – and from there they’ll sell them.”
Located directly east of the Korle Lagoon, Jamestown is the oldest districts in the city of Accra, Ghana and emerged as communities around the 17th century British James Fort and Ussher Fort on the Gulf of Guinea coast. These districts were heavily developed by the end of the 19th century, and following the rapid growth of the city during the 20th century, they became areas of a dense mixture of commercial and residential use.
Today, Jamestown remains a fishing community inhabited primarily by the Ga people. Although in a state of decay following years of neglect by subsequent governments, the districts are popular tourist destinations for those seeking to see the remnants of Accra's colonial past.
The current chief of the town is Oblempong Nii Wetse Kojo II, formally known as Dr Prince William Bruce-Quaye.